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The governor wants the alcohol-to-go law to continue



New York – A state statute from the COVID era that permits bars and restaurants to offer alcoholic beverages to patrons throughout New York might become permanent if Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal is included in the upcoming state budget.

The law expires in April 2025, but Hochul says she is determined to include a permanent policy adjustment in the upcoming state budget. Some diners on Saturday agreed that this is a terrific idea.

Tara Custura said it makes sense to have alcohol with her, given where she lives and works, as she celebrated her 30th birthday with pals on Saturday night at Exchange Sports Bar in Corn Hill.

“We live in a neighborhood that has a lot of restaurants and bars that don’t have a lot of late hours,” Custura said.

According to Custura, providing more options for clients entails maintaining a supply of alcohol.

“Just put that in a to-go cup and take it back to our apartment, versus rushing it and spending more money than we usually would. Like you feel like you get your money’s worth,” she said.

Hochul last week suggested making the pandemic-era regulation permanent to support the survival of establishments like pubs.

Sarah Carmichael is likewise in favor of keeping the policy in place.

“I work in the restaurant industry, so I think that including that would be extremely beneficial to restaurants across the board. I think that will really increase profit. A lot of people who order things to go would really like a beverage as well instead of sitting in a bar,” Carmichael said.

Nevertheless, there are still exceptions even if the regulation is made permanent.

For starters, patrons who are offered “substantial food” at a bar or restaurant are the only ones who can purchase drinks to go. The beverage to-go needs to be supplied in a sealed container as well.

“No one is saying walk around the street with a cup of open alcohol. They are saying take your alcohol to go. Nowadays you are spending 14 dollars on a cocktail. You don’t want to have to chug it. Enjoy it to go,” Custura said.

The governor hopes that once the budget is approved in March, the measure will become permanent.